Anthony 'Totally Fine' Without Van Halen
Michael Anthony is getting his post-Van Halen career going in earnest.Michael Anthony is getting his post-Van Halen career going in earnest.
After his acrimonious and controversial ouster from the hard rock group he helped to found -- which is currently on the road with original frontman David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang in Anthony's place -- the bassist is once again riding a hard-working sidecar to second Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar.
He's leading his own trio, Mad Anthony Express, which plays a selection of "more obscure" Van Halen tracks, including "DOA" and "Light Up the Sky," and some cover songs. On some nights Anthony and Hagar -- the only VH members to attend the group's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in March -- bring out their Los Tres Gusanos to play early Hagar material, and at every show the duo plays a set of Hagar-era Van Halen material as the Other Half.
"I'm on stage for a good part of the night," Anthony tells Billboard.com. "I'm just happy to still be out there playing. I'm having a great time doing it. It's not like we need the money; we can just go out there and party with the fans and we have a great time doing it."
Anthony says that Mad Anthony's Express, which currently features guitarist Vic Johnson and drummer John "JD" Douglas -- both from Hagar's Wabos band -- could spur him to launch his own group or recording project. "Possibly," he says. "After this tour I'm gonna check into doing some different things, doing some writing with different people. I've got a lot of friends I've made in this business. I've thought about doing something where I'd use some different people, put some original stuff or some covers stuff together and put my own twist on it. We'll see."
As for Van Halen, Anthony says he's not going out of his way to keep tabs on the group's tour but that "people tell me things, and I heard the tour's been fine." He admits he was "bummed out for a little bit" after being booted from the band -- and especially after he was temporarily replaced from album cover images on the group's Web site -- but that he's largely over it.
"I'm totally fine with it now 'cause it is what it is," Anthony explains. "There's no use dwelling on it or whining about it. The fans know the band. They know what we've done, and I'm really proud of the history of the band. But I'm focusing on having fun and doing what Sam and I are out doing right now. As long as I keep that perspective on it, that's good."